Do your kids have the emergency skills to handle unplanned situations? Maybe you can remember the days when we had rotary phones and our parents taught us how to pick up the receiver on the clunky black phone so we could call 911? We were instructed on the basics of what to say and reminded to never dial those 3 numbers unless we had a real emergency. Have you thought about what our kids need to know in today’s culture?
Emergency Skills Children need to Know
Recently I was talking to a Grandmother who was keeping her 3 small grandkids. The household didn’t have a landline and the only phone in the home was her cell phone. Since it has a passcode to unlock the phone, she was concerned that the kids would not be able to call for help if there was an emergency. What would happen if those small children needed to call for help? Would they know what to do in an emergency situation?
There are some basic skills that children of all ages need to know and understand so they will be prepared in the case of an emergency situation.
How to call 911:
As soon as a child can master an electronic device for a game, they need to be taught how to call for help on a cell phone. Most households no longer have landline telephone so basic knowledge of mobile phones is necessary.
Did you know that even if an iphone has a security code, you can still call emergency 911? Just swipe the phone to the right and you will see a place to click for ‘emergency’. Teach your child to recognize that word so they will know what to do if they need help and a cell phone is locked.
Teach your address:
All children going to Kindergarten are taught their address and parent’s phone number. But even pre-kindergarten children can learn this information. If they get lost or have an emergency, they need to know where they live so help can be given.
What to do if they get lost:
We have always taught our children that if we get separated in a public place that they should look for a police officer, someone that works in that store or find another Mom with children.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to talk to the safety officer at the Cincinnati Zoo to get his ideas on how to keep kids safe in public places. His number one advice was that children should always stay put so adults can come back to the last place the child was seen and find them.
He also suggested that parents take a picture of their child beside a landmark when they get to a public venue like a zoo or amusement park. This would provide security personnel a reference point for height and give them an accurate picture of who they are looking for in case the child is separated from the parents.
Know your neighbors:
In today’s fast paced world, it’s easy to bypass the relations with your neighbors. But every child should know people that live in your neighborhood. If the adult of the house ever becomes unable to care for the children, there should be a plan in place of whom the kids can run to for immediate aide.
Have a safe spot:
In every house we have lived, the kids have known where the ‘safe spot’ was. That safe spot should be a place away from the driveway and far enough from the house that they are protected in the event of a fire. Everyone should know where to regroup if there were ever an emergency that made it necessary to quickly evacuate the house.
Talking about emergencies and being prepared does not have to be a scary thing. It should just be a matter-of-fact conversation that will help everyone breathe easier in case there is an emergency.
What are some ways you think kids should be taught to be prepared? I’d love to hear!
Excerpts of this article appeared in the print edition of the Advocate Messenger, Danville, Kentucky 5/1/16.